The wonderful language learning community Gimara interviewed me yesterday! I talked to Gimara's Marja Ahola about teaching and learning Finnish, about my new online course in August and about building a small teaching business. The video is in Finnish, but Finnish subtitles are coming up to help you follow along if you should wish to!
Gimara is a great resource for learning Finnish. They regularly post free video lessons for different levels from beginner to advanced on their various social media accounts, especially YouTube and Facebook.
Time for another personal (and professional) update!
I've recently launched my very first publicly available online course (I've been doing some form of online teaching since 2010, and of a lot more of it in 2020, like most of my colleagues). It's a course for intermediate to upper intermediate (B1-B2) students and focused on speaking and listening comprehension. You can read all about it here in English and in here in Finnish.
More online courses are coming up later this year, the first of which will be aimed at students preparing for the intermediate level YKI test or just wishing to get from A2 to B1, starting in September 2020. I'll keep you updated!
I signed the lease for my new workspace yesterday evening!
Global pandemic allowing, I'll be doing private Finnish lessons face to face in Kallio from August. There are still a few spots available in my teaching calendar if you're interested. Click here for pricing and more information, and to reserve your first free lesson!
I'll also still be teaching online, and I'm planning my very first publicly available online Finnish course for August. It will be a short course on speaking and listening comprehension for intermediate to early advanced students (CEFR B1-B2 or YKI 3-4) with live meetings on Zoom, Tuesdays from 19:30 to 20:30. More info coming up as soon as I get all the details hammered out!
Update: the course page is up and running! Click here for more details in English (the course page is in Finnish, as this is an upper intermediate course) and sign up here!
Doesn't it look pretty already?
= Happy Midsummer!
As usual, I'm celebrating the shortest night of the year in the countryside by a beautiful lake. It's traditional to stay up most of the night, but last year and the year before that I was fast asleep before 10 pm. I suspect that tomorrow I'll do the the same, but we'll see!
Here's a great video from the brilliant Almost Finns about Finnish Midsummer celebrations. The video is in Finnish, with subtitles in Finnish, Arabic, Spanish and English. Do you celebrate Midsummer or Juhannus?
A student of mine asks:
I keep seeing the word "tarha" at the end of longer words: puutarha, eläintarha, lastentarha. What does "tarha" mean?
Here's a list of words ending in tarha with their translations to English:
puutarha - garden
hedelmätarha - orchard
omenatarha - an orchard with mainly apple trees
mehiläistarha - bee farm
lastentarha - day care center or kindergarten
eläintarha - zoo
If you look at the list, you might see that the words all have something in common (besides ending in tarha). These words all mean enclosed spaces that contain something specific: trees (puu), fruit (hedelmä), apples (omena), bees (mehiläinen, mehiläis-), children (lapsi, lasten), animals (eläin).
Tarha used all on its own usually means lastentarha, so a day care center or kindergarten.
Lately, I've been spending a lot of time in Malminkartanon omenatarha, or the apple orchard in Malminkartano, where I also took the background picture:
Who would have thought parenting would be so time consuming? Over a year ago, I seriously imagined I'd have the time and energy to update this blog at least once in a while, but the reality of it was quite different, as everyone except me knew well in advance. It's been a difficult and wonderful time, with all kinds of stuff (like teething and a global pandemic) going on.
I returned to working full time on Monday, and resuming blogging seems much more realistic, at least at the moment! Send me your questions and I'll do my best to answer them.
Before I switch my focus back to Finnish, here's a picture of my baby from two days ago:
Lapset kasvavat niin nopeasti!
= Lapse+t kasva+vat niin nopea+sti!
= Child+t-plural grow+3rd person plural so quick+ly!
= Children grow up so quickly!
Happy Easter everyone! I've had a busy few months adjusting to parenthood, but we're slowly but surely finding to do things besides changing diapers. I've even been able to edit some new posts, so I'll hopefully be able to post something in the not too distant future!
In the meanwhile, here's another brilliant meme from Very Finnish Problems. Yes Finland has the best Easter eggs!
This meme from the delightful Very Finnish Problems has been making the rounds in my social media feed lately:
Every time I see it I'm consumed by an urge to help that poor cat. I don't know this particular cat and don't know how to reach it, so I've decided to help you instead.
The Finnish y is actually not that difficult for speakers of most languages, it just needs a bit of attention and a bit of practice and feedback - ideally from a trained teacher, but in a pinch any Finnish speaker will do - before it starts coming naturally.
Let's look at the cat's mouth more closely:
You'll notice the cat's tongue is out of his mouth. This will not help you pronounce y. Your tongue must be inside your mouth! Otherwise the cat does have the right idea. Let's do this.
Start by saying uu, like in the Finnish word uusi 'new'. In English, u is often written with two o's, like in the words food, choose and booze. Here's me saying uu:
To go from uu to yy, simply move your tongue all the way to the front of your mouth. When you do this, your lips will also move slightly to the front, but it'll happen automatically when you move your tongue. But do not make the mistake the cat made, keep that tongue inside your mouth!
For those of you who prefer watching a video to reading instructions, here's a quick lesson of how to pronounce y! Make sure to turn the English subtitles on, the lesson should be easier to follow that way.
Post your y in the comments for feedback from me!
Happy New Year everyone!
Our beautiful son was born on the 16th of December and all is well with the whole family. We're very happy and completely in awe of our new family member.
Posting has been slow and will be for the time being, just until we get some new routines going. Nähdään ensi vuonna!
Hänen pienet jalkansa!
My KPT-post has proved trickier to write than I expected (but it's coming!) so in the meantime, a question that I answered in the Facebook Finnish study group Let's Learn Finnish Language. Kirez, who asked the question, has kindly allowed me to publish his question along with my answer here.
Google translate käännä “puheikielallä” as “speech language”...
I’m guessing a better translation is “vernacular”?
It gives me no translation for “yleiskielallä” - I’m guessing more formal or written language?
"Puhekieli" or spoken language usually refers to standard spoken Finnish (also "yleispuhekieli"). In my opinion, vernacular is not a great translation, as vernacular usually refers to more specific dialects or registers - in Finnish, vernacular is "kansankieli" or "paikallismurre" (local dialect). Like in all spoken varieties of any language, there is no one fixed form of standard spoken Finnish: forms vary depending on the area the speaker is from and the context the language is spoken in, and there isn't a clear cut line between "yleispuhekieli" and more specific registers of the language. However, the forms used in the Helsinki region are often seen as the neutral choice (but obviously it depends on who you ask!).
"Yleiskieli" is indeed a more formal version of Finnish and can be translated as standard Finnish. In its written form, it's also referred to as "kirjakieli". Spoken yleiskieli is used mainly in formal situations (often the speaker is reading out loud or has written and memorized what they're going to say), like the news, scripted shows on radio or tv, plays etc. In its written form yleiskieli is also called "kirjakieli", literally "book language" usually translated as standard written Finnish.